There is a particular look about a teenage boy that lets you know what kind of man he’ll be. A certain fullness of lips, a frank sensuality in his gaze. We all know what the word for that is, but it’s not polite to use it until he’s proven he’s that kind of boy.

- - -

Hugin was chosen, among all the boys of the village, to compete in the Races. He had grown up, the child of a simple, lovely baker, and his wife, the wolf-hunter. Hugin wore his hair in simple golden waves and had the longest legs anyone had ever seen, coated in fine, silky down. When the yearly selection began, other boys watched Hugin. They knew he would be the one, and they pouted.

What they did not know was that Hugin was torn; torn between tall and silent Joina and her younger sister, Kika the Maker of Knives.

As the old men pulled him on stage to crown him as the Racer, he could see Joina’s eyes upon him. He could sense Kika’s longing for him as her lips formed his name.

Which one of them would choose him? Who would he belong to? The question would have to wait. He was a Racer now, and nothing else mattered. Not even love.

- - -

Brett pulled his tank top up over his head and stared at himself in the full-length mirror. He pushed down his jeans, then his boxers, and imagined the moment when Jennifer saw him nude for the first time. His feet were average-sized, and there was hair on his toes that he should probably take care of before tonight. He liked his legs just fine, but his thighs were wide and embarrassingly muscular. He tried standing at an angle, a twist at his waist. Some improvement. In that position, it was easier to see his ass and notice that it was not as pert as it had been at 22. He clenched both cheeks, hoping that tightened its look. He sucked in his tummy and pulled his pecs up high, trying to present them like pastries in a bakery window. Would she like him? Were the goods good enough? He pouted his lips and ran his hands over his thighs, masking their expanse. Maybe.

- - -

Prof. Redgrave looked down to find Stephen gazing up adoringly at her. She blinked down at him, unimpressed.

“But what is Nabikova trying to tell us with this transgressive tale? Is it really just elevated pornography? Or is there a deeper meaning to this titillating tale of a middle-aged woman seducing her teenage stepson?”

Stephen’s look didn’t waver. Redgrave knew there wasn’t a single original thought in the little tart’s head. She had seen the way he lounged, long in his desk, inviting the girls in class to look at him and then crying foul when they prefaced their arguments with a harmless little ‘sweetheart.’ She had graded his papers, marking them down for their puerile assertions and childish leaps of logic. She and her grad student, Gertrude, had privately giggled over his pathetic striving.

“That one is not 201 material,” Gertrude clucked. “Fail him out already. It’s sad watching him struggle like this.”

But of course, it had to be the Nabikova where he showed a little glimmer of hope. What other book would serve?

“Professor,” Stephen began, one well-tanned arm in the air. “What if it’s not really about the boy? What if, like she says, he’s a safely solipsized something else? What if the plaything isn’t the jailbait kid, but the English language itself?”

And just like that, Redgrave knew who her next TA would be. She drank him in, the combination of nubility and fragile academic curiosity and knew he’d fall for her wise advisor act. Kid had mommy issues written all over him.

This semester was looking up.

- - -

“But I don’t get it!” Shea was panting, trying to catch up to Michael as he fled. “The monster ate everyone else. How did you escape?”

Michael reached the boat first, flinging himself in. He waited for Shea to follow him and take the oars, guiding them smoothly away from the shore.

“It’s because I was different from the other boys,” he said, pushing his hair behind his ear and looking away.

“What do you mean, different?” Shea’s muscles rippled and flexed as she rowed them to safety, and Michael could not tear his eyes away.

“Different. Pure, the monster said. Because I’m… I’ve never…” He looked away again, and the moonlight caught on his throat, outlined his clavicle.

“You’re a virgin,” Shea said, realization dawning. “What a waste.”

Michael blushed.

“If we get out of this alive," she said. "I’m going to fix that.”

- - -

“You’re so good-looking,” said Chester. Antoine was patting his hair into shape in the mirror, fretting again. Antoine knew that his friend meant well, but his opinion just didn’t mean anything. Was Chester going to give him a class ring? Was he going to hang that all-important varsity dance team jacket over his shoulders when he was shivering? Would Chester wrap his arms around him, hold his hand, kiss him so deeply that his toes curled? Antoine looked at his best friend in the mirror, seeing him in an entirely new way. It wasn’t the same as Barbara, he knew. It would never be as overpowering, or as fulfilling. But maybe…

Barbara found them twenty minutes later, wrapped around each other. Antoine looked up in horror.

“I’m so sorry! It didn’t mean anything!”

Barbara smirked, crossing her arms and taking in the scene. “Now, this is interesting. Don’t freak out, babe. It’s not like it’s really cheating, after all.”

The two boys looked at each other, flushed and excited.

“Maybe…” Chester bit his lip. “Maybe you’d like to join us?”

She smiled again and began to undo her belt. “That’s just what I had in mind.”

- - -

Andrew didn’t mind that he never came when they had sex. Bianca would climb on top of him and ride his pubis, grinding her clit until she spasmed and fell on top of him, exhausted and mumbling about love. He liked the way it got him excited and sometimes, later he would take care of himself. He really just wanted to feel the power of her body on top of his, to know that he was exciting to her. Besides, what are orgasms when compared to true love?